March 18, 2013
Martin G. Sandburg
By Barbara Schock
There was about 2 ½ years
difference in age between Carl Sandburg and his
younger brother, Martin, born August 22, 1880.
They played together and shared a garret bedroom
while they were growing up. They had many of the
same experiences, but their personalities were
different. Mart was the steady man who found a job
and contributed his wages to the Sandburg
household while Carl went hoboing and traveled the
countryside selling stereoscopic views.
Mart married Kate Stater on
June 9, 1904, and they moved into a two-room
apartment in the Sandburg house at 809 East
Berrien Street. He was an agent for the Adams
Express Company, which involved taking the night
train to Chicago. When Carl was living in Aurora
trying to find his way into a life of writing,
Mart would sometimes give him a free ride to
Mart helped Carl get a job
at the Brooks Street Fire Station which paid $75 a
month. Carl was required to perform certain tasks
which took about two hours a day plus being called
out for actual fires. Carl was able to spend time
working on his writing while earning a regular
During the first decade of
the 20th century Mart was superintendent of
Galesburg’s street department. He also had an
interest in a cigar store on Main Street. By 1912,
he was working for the S&S Packing Company which
was later purchased by the Wilson Packing Company.
In 1918 Mart and W.W. Felt erected a building on
South Chambers Street which was leased to the Rath
Mart Sandburg served on the
Galesburg Board of Education in the 1920s and on
the Election Commission in the 1930s. He filed
petitions for the office of mayor in 1937, but
decided to withdraw after a three-way race
developed in the city primary. Or, there may have
been some unseen pressure from other powers in the
city. Mart also acquired a farm and spent many
hours improving it.
Mart and Kate Sandburg had
four children. The first child, Fred (named after
his brother who had died of diphtheria), died at
six months of age. The other children were Lena,
Martin, Jr. And Merrill.
Mart retired in 1942.
During World War II he volunteered for the special
agents force in the Burlington Railroad yards. The
railroad had difficulty maintaining an adequate
watch system in the yard because the military
draft had taken so many young men. On April 7,
1944, Mart had a heart attack and died a few hours
later. His wife had died of cancer a few months
earlier. They were buried in Linwood Cemetery.
Carl and Mart Sandburg both
had a good sense of humor. They supported one
another throughout their lives. They mourned
together in the kitchen of their mother’s house
after she died in 1926. They recollected her
encouraging words to them as children and her
dedication to her family. They also reminisced
about the comical events of their childhood.
March 18, 2013 -"Martin G. Sandburg"
March 4, 2013 - "The Edison Talking Machine"
February 25, 2013 - "Joe Elser, Civil War Veteran"
February 18, 2013 - "Remember the Maine..."
February 11, 2013
- Lincoln's Birthday
February 4, 2013 -- Curiosity